Are your employees logging in to Facebook during work hours? Social media can keep them connected and updated. But if in excess, it can be a big distraction and productivity killer.

Social media has become an inevitable part of our daily lives. Technology provides us easy and anytime access to all social media platforms. In fact, studies show that the average person spends around 2 hours a day on social media.

However, should we use social media at workplaces? What is its effect on employee productivity?

A company should not ban social media entirely in the office because of the multiple benefits it brings. But there should be boundaries on its usage so that it doesn’t distract the employees from their tasks.

Benefits of social media at the workplace

Here are a few reasons why you should not discourage social media in the workplace.

  • Relaxation – Continuous work is tiring and also hampers productivity. Short breaks refresh the mind and improve focus and performance. Social media provides easy access to the network of friends and lifts the spirits of the employees.
  • Team building – Social media platforms are perfect to strengthen the relationships among the employees. It creates an environment of transparent communication, collaboration, and enhanced creativity.
  • Self-training – Social media is a treasure trove of information. If utilized in the right manner, employees can use the various courses, tutorials, and videos to learn new skills or to solve the problems at work.
  • Increases engagement – Companies can use social media to connect the employees, encourage communication, and keep them informed about the various happenings in the industry. This will increase employee engagement and create an open work culture.

Drawbacks of social media at the workplace

Social media can contribute greatly to a transparent work culture and increase employee motivation. However, it has many disadvantages as well.

  • Distractions from tasks – Social media can tempt employees to watch videos or play games and distract them from their immediate tasks. This reduces their focus and leads to wastage of time.
  • Security risks – When employees access social media from office computers, they put the organization’s sensitive information at risk. The business could become vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
  • Technical risks – Social media usage from the office network also brings the risk of viruses. Such incidents can increase hardware and maintenance costs.
  • Risk for the company’s image – If employees make any mistake while posting on the social media accounts of the company, it can seriously undermine the brand image of the organization.

How do employees get distracted by social media?

Some of the notable ways in which social media distract the employees are:

  • Following the comments or like of others unnecessarily.
  • Getting caught up in irrelevant discussions for a long time.
  • Chatting with multiple friends without watching the time.
  • Aimless wandering from one account to another.
  • Randomly following links to unrelated articles.
  • Watching videos during work hours.

How to avoid social media distractions at work?

The lure of social media is tough to avoid. However, if certain guidelines are implemented strictly, social media usage can be kept within limits. Here are some tips for avoiding social media distraction at work.

  • Keep time slots for social media usage – Ensure that employees turn off all social media alerts during work hours and log in to their accounts only during the specified time slots.
  • Close the browser – While at work, encourage the employees to turn off their internet browsers. This will reduce unnecessary wandering in the social media landscape. Another step would be to limit the number of times they check the emails in a day.
  • Implement the plan strictly – The guidelines and time slots must be communicated clearly and implemented according to the plan. Monitor the progress and if there are any loopholes amend it immediately.

Summary

Social media is a necessity even at work. But there have to be reasonable boundaries on its usage during work hours. Companies have to strike the right balance through a progressive social media policy to eliminate the social media distractions that lower employee productivity and at the same time encourage the right usage.

HR